1. Whiskey Club
818 SW 1st Ave., 503-894-9059, whiskeyclubpdx.com.
In Portland's competitive strip club scene, naked flesh alone isn't going to cut it as a business model. You've got to have a hook. Whiskey Club markets a pseudo-speakeasy vibe, with a lack of explicit signage out front about what kind of business you're entering. It's the rare club that encourages you to grab a drink and chill awhile. Even rarer, there's a skylight above the VIP couches, meaning, depending on the time of day, patrons can either see natural light or the stars while getting a private dance.
2. Bar Dune
638 E Burnside St., 503-236-6464, bardune.com.
The new venture from Sizzle Pie's Matthew Jacobson has a name that nods both to the dusty expanse of the American Southwest and Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterpiece, yet it doesn't fully commit to either theme. There's one thing Bar Dune has going for it—grasshoppers. They're served here with avocado, corn tortillas and ribbons of mild cheese, along with cocktails like Life After Paris, a deft fusion of tiki and Toulouse-Lautrec based on pineapple rum, absinthe and Amaro.
Read the full review: Bar Dune Would Be a Fairly Standard Cocktail Lounge, Were It Not for the Grasshoppers.
3. Bar Diane
2112 NW Irving St., Suite 105, bardiane.com.
Truly great wine bars are defined by a spirit of generosity—generous with knowledge, generous with accessibility and, yes, generous with prices. On all these points, Bar Diane is a major success. It strikes a fine balance as a wine bar that rewards expertise yet feels accessible and affordable no matter your starting base of wine knowledge. Nearly every bottle is under $60, save for the smart, concise selection of Champagne and occasional ringers from winemakers like Ridge and Paolo Bea.
Read the full review: Northwest Portland Wine Lounge Bar Diane Rewards Connoisseurs Without Alienating Newbies.
4. Cully Central
4579 NE Cully Blvd., 503-206-8911.
Once home to a seedy strip club, Cully Central brought new energy to a bleak stretch of Cully Boulevard. Not only is it warm, bright and welcoming, with games of ladder ball and giant Jenga on the patio as well as Monopoly and Bananagrams inside, there is a delicious lineup of Lao dishes, like a crispy rice salad seasoned with fresh herbs and lime juice. It's also a solid beer bar, with 20 handles boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem.
Related: Restaurant Guide 2019: Beer.
5. Satellite Tavern
5101 N Interstate Ave., 503-841-6176.
If there's nothing else to say about the new sports bar on Interstate, at least its centerpiece mural—a vision of The Last Supper featuring John "The Jesus" Turturro standing in for JC himself—gives patrons plenty to talk about. Beyond its aesthetic touches, though, Satellite, at its core, is a fairly standard sports bar. But it's comfortable enough, and there's always a television in your sightline.